During the 2009-10 season, the Detroit Pistons were in the beginning stages of what has turned out to be a disappointing four year stretch. Despite their poor record, Detroit had the makings of a productive young forward, Jonas Jerebko.
At the time, it made for a fantastic success story. He was selected deep in the 2009 NBA Draft at 39th overall and was just the second NBA player to hail from Sweden.
Despite having the odds stacked against him, Jerebko started 73 games during his rookie campaign. He concluded it with impressive averages of nine points and six rebounds per game. With such solid numbers, it appeared that Jerebko could be a mainstay in the starting lineup moving forward. However, it was not meant to be.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly the reasons behind a player’s decline in play. In Jerebko’s case, perhaps it can be attributed to the coaching carousel that has taken place in Detroit over the past few years. New coaches bring with them different philosophies and it appears that Jerebko began to fall out of favor after the firing of John Kuester in 2011.
Since his promising first year, Jerebko has seen his points per game average drop from nine to three a game and his rebounding from six to just under one.
He’s played in just 29 of the team’s 46 game thus far and sees an average of just seven minutes of court time per contest. If Jerebko wasn’t paid so much, this probably wouldn’t be as big of a deal, however, he is halfway through a four-year, $18 millon contract that sees him earning nearly $4.5 million this season. Given the opportunity, he’s proven to have the capability of contributing to an NBA team.
Therefore, it’s time for the Pistons to make a decision. It’s beginning to look like Detroit will need several more roster moves this upcoming offseason. As a result, they cannot afford to pay guys a significant amount of money who aren’t integral members to the team’s future success.
If Detroit is not willing to see if Jerebko can help out their struggling team, they should trade him before the deadline or before free agency this summer in order to give themselves more spending money to improve their roster.